Across much of the rest of the Lowcountry, Hurricane Hugo tore pines to splinters nearly a quarter-century ago. But trees in the Longleaf Pine Heritage Preserve near Lynchburg simply bent over. The difference? The longleaf.

“They’re still leaning and they’re still living,” said Johnny Stowe, a S.C. Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist.

Compared to other pine trees, even natives like the loblolly, the longleaf pine is simply more adapted to the winds, wildfires, drenches and droughts of the coast.

It stands up better to hurricanes. It not only tolerates fire better, it needs frequent burning to maintain the open understory habitat where it grows.

It resists insects and disease better.

Its longer pine straw is sought after. Its wood has a wide variety of uses that include ship building, basketmaking and flooring.

Bo Petersen